John Rooney scored his first goal since returning to Barrow in spectacular fashion against Hartlepool United, but it wasn’t enough to prevent The Bluebirds slipping to defeat at Victoria Park.
The midfield ace sent a dazzling lobbed effort into the net from 40 yards to give Barrow the lead in the North-East, but the home side came roaring back to lead 3-1 by the break and hold that advantage through to the finish.
Mark Cooper made two changes to his starting eleven as Niall Canavan made his debut in place of the injured Tom Beadling, while Jacob Wakeling came in to the side up front.
The home side began at pace and The Bluebirds found themselves having to work hard during the opening exchanges as Pools moved the ball about quickly.
Slowly but surely, Cooper’s men got a foothold though – and Remeao Hutton was first to have a go on goal when he cut in from the right only to strike a left-footed shot over the bar.
Luke Molyneux was a constant threat for Pools though and when he cleverly spun away down the left and cut a dangerous ball back into the box, Tom Crawford saw a shot well blocked before Joe Grey’s follow-up clipped the bar on its way over.
However, on 17 minutes John Rooney officially announced his return to Barrow. Collecting the ball just inside the home side’s half, the midfield man spotted keeper Ben Killip off his line and sent an exquisite lob over his head and into the net in front of the celebrating Bluebirds fans.
The goal encouraged Barrow further and it could have been 2-0 minutes later when Anthony Glennon’s wicked corner from the right went all the way across goal and found Patrick Brough at the back post, but he couldn’t force it home.
Then Hutton burst into space down the right and fired a lovely cross into the front post which was gathered by Aaron Amadi-Holloway, who then spun swiftly to fire a low shot on goal which was brilliantly saved by Killip.
The save proved a turning point because on 27 minutes the hosts were level. Molyneux meandered over the right to collect possession and then engineered some space to shoot from the edge of the box, finding the near bottom corner of the net to make it 1-1.
Pools then took back control of the game five minutes before half time they grabbed a second goal when Jamie Sterry’s low cross from the right wasn’t fully cleared, and Omar Bogle was there to steer a low shot past Paul Farman.
It got worse a minute before the break when again Molyneux was allowed time on the edge of the area to shoot, and he worked the ball on to his left foot before curling a wonderful shot into the top corner for 3-1.
Barrow introduced Robbie Gotts for the start of the second half but it began in cagey fashion and neither side managed to create as much as they had before the break.
Gotts almost got in behind the Pools defence only for home skipper Neill Byrne to shut the door on him, while at the other end Molyneux had a chance to grab his hat-trick when he got in down the right but blazed his effort over the bar.
Rooney caused a moment of panic in the Pools penalty area ten minutes from time when his in-swinging delivery dropped inside the six-yard box but nobody in pink could get a decisive touch and the hosts were able to clear.
However, the ball was quickly worked back into the edge of the area for Luke James, and he turned to fire low on goal only to see his shot brilliantly saved by Ben Killip as it ricocheted up and out off the bar.
Pools could have added a fourth in stoppage time when he jinked into space on the edge of the area, but his effort on goal was deflected wide.
Full Time: Hartlepool United 3 Barrow 1
Hartlepool United: Killip, Sterry, Byrne, Odusina, Ferguson, Morris, Crawford, White (Shelton 82), Molyneux, Grey, Bogle (Cullen 79).
Subs not used: Bilokapic, Liddle, Ogle, Holohan, Fletcher.
Barrow: Farman, Hutton, Brown, Canavan, Brough, Glennon, Taylor (Gotts 46), Banks, Rooney, Wakeling (James 69), Amadi-Holloway (Williams 69).
Subs: J Jones, White, Harris.
Booked: Glennon, Brown, Taylor.
Referee: Peter Wright
Attendance: 4,621 (204 Barrow)